About Payment Methods

PayPal allows you to make payments using a variety of methods including: PayPal balance, bank account, PayPal branded debit and credit cards, PayPal Credit, debit card, and credit card. Because your protection against undelivered or defective goods will vary with each method, you should review this page to understand how you can select a payment method and how protection differs depending on your payment method.

This page does not address unauthorized transactions. For information on your protection against unauthorized transactions, please see the Error Resolution section of the PayPal User Agreement.

Selecting a preferred payment method

You can choose any of the payment methods in your PayPal account as your preferred payment method. You can select a preferred payment method in your account preferences on www.paypal.com or in the PayPal app.

You can set separate preferred payment methods for online transactions and in-store transactions.

If you have chosen an online preferred payment method, it will be shown as the primary method of payment when making a purchase or sending money via goods and services.

If you have chosen an in-store preferred payment method and do not have any money in your PayPal balance, your preferred payment method will be used for your purchase. If you do have a PayPal balance, your PayPal balance will be used first and your preferred payment method will be used for any remaining amount due.

There may be times when your preferred payment method cannot be used, for example, if you select a credit card that has expired. Also, the availability of certain payment methods may be limited based on that particular seller or the third party website you are using to complete the transaction.

If no preferred payment method, it’s still your choice

If you have not selected a preferred payment method, or your preferred payment method is unavailable, we will show you multiple available payment methods, including the payment method you used most often or most recently, at the time of transaction. You can also click on the “Manage” link to see all of your available payment methods, or add a new one, and select the one of your choosing during the transaction.

Sending money to friends and family

When you send money to friends and family using your PayPal balance or your bank account, we waive all fees, so we always show you these payment options first, if available, even if you have a set a preferred payment method for your online purchases. Remember, you always have the choice to select any payment method in your account by clicking the “Change” link on the Send Money page. We will always show you if there is a fee and how much the fee is before you send money.

Pre-approved payments

Some sellers allow you to store PayPal as the payment method to use whenever making purchases on their site, so you can check out faster. Often, this entails creating an agreement with the seller, where you give the seller permission to pay using your PayPal account every time you make a purchase.

When you first set up an agreement, your preferred payment method (if you have one selected) will be shown first. We will also show you other payment methods you have available in your PayPal account that you can instruct the seller to use. For example, you can instruct your monthly movie subscription service to always charge your credit card for the monthly cost. The payment method you select will be used for every future transaction with that seller, unless you decide to change it in your account settings on www.paypal.com or it is unavailable (i.e. credit card expired).

There are a few sellers where you can select PayPal as the method of payment for future transactions, but you won’t be shown the specific payment method that will be used. When setting up an agreement with one of these sellers, the payment method used will be in the following order, if applicable: 1. Preferred payment method; 2. Balance; 3. Bank account (instant transfer); 4. PayPal Credit; 5. PayPal co-branded debit card; 6. PayPal co-branded credit card; 6. Debit card; 7. Credit card; and 8. E-check. This is also the order of payment methods that will be used if a previously selected payment method to be used in a seller agreement is unavailable.

Payment Method Rights and Remedies

PayPal Purchase Protection

PayPal Purchase Protection (also known as PayPal Buyer Protection) applies for certain, qualifying purchases regardless of the payment method. For these qualifying purchases, PayPal will cover you for the full amount of the item plus original shipping costs if you do not receive the item or if you receive an item but it is significantly different than the description the seller provided. To receive reimbursement for items that are significantly not as described, you will be required to return the item to the seller, or in some cases to PayPal, and to pay the return shipping costs. PayPal Purchase Protection is not available for personal payments and other ineligible purchases.

To be eligible for PayPal Purchase Protection, you must file a Dispute in the PayPal Resolution Center within 180 days of the date you sent the payment, escalate the Dispute to a Claim within 20 days of the date you filed the Dispute, and meet the eligibility criteria as listed in the PayPal User Agreement.

PayPal Credit Protection

PayPal Credit offers protection against unauthorized transactions and billing errors, including items not received and items received that are significantly not as described. When you submit a PayPal Purchase Protection dispute on a transaction funded by PayPal Credit, the transaction will be placed in dispute on your PayPal Credit Account. This means you will not be responsible to repay the disputed transaction amount while the dispute is investigated and interest and fees will not be assessed while we review your dispute. This step will occur automatically when you use the dispute process in the PayPal Resolution Center.

If your dispute involves a transaction that is not identified in the Resolution Center or your dispute involves a billing error that is not related to a specific transaction, you can call PayPal Credit at 1-866-528-3733 to submit your dispute.

If you wish, you may also choose to submit any billing error dispute in writing to

    • PayPal Credit Dispute,
    • PO Box 5018,
    • Timonium, MD 21094
Credit Card Protection

You may pursue a Dispute/Claim with PayPal, or you may contact your credit card company and file a chargeback. You may not pursue both at the same time or seek a double recovery. If you have an open Dispute or Claim with PayPal, and also file a chargeback with your credit card company, PayPal will close your Dispute or Claim, and you will have to rely solely on your chargeback rights.

If you pursue a Claim with PayPal and if you do not receive a full recovery, you can then file a chargeback.

Credit card companies must abide by these statutory guidelines, including but not limited to the following:

  • If a consumer claims a "billing error" because an item is not received or is refused at the time of delivery, the card issuer is obliged to investigate, resolve, and to correct written claims filed by the consumer within 60 days of receipt of the applicable credit card statement.
  • If a consumer claims a dispute with a merchant, the card issuer is obliged to investigate and resolve consumer claims, provided the consumer: (i) has not paid for the charge (ii) has made a good faith attempt to settle the dispute with the merchant (iii) lives in the same state as or within 100 miles of the merchant and (iv) paid more than $50 for the item.

You should contact your credit card issuer to learn more about your rights and remedies.

Debit Card Protection

Your debit card issuer is not required by law to provide you with protection against items that you do not receive or that are significantly not as described. Many debit card issuers voluntarily provide protection similar to the chargeback rights provided by credit card issuers.

PayPal may process debit card transactions through either (a) an ATM debit network such as STAR or NYCE, or (b) a Visa or MasterCard network. If we process your debit card through an ATM debit network, we may provide you with the opportunity to switch to a Visa or MasterCard network by clicking the "Funding Sources" link on the payment confirmation page. Choosing the Visa / MasterCard network may give you additional protection compared to the ATM debit networks. You should contact your debit card issuer to learn more about your rights and remedies if you pay with your debit card.

Bank Account Protection

Your bank is not required by law to provide you with protection against items that you pay for with a bank transfer but that you do not receive or that are significantly not as described. You should contact your bank to determine if they voluntarily provide any purchase protection.